Am, Am Not (Poetry)

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Hold your nose! Poetry awaits.

* * *
Grendel

I am human.

I am a writer.

I’m not a missionary.

I don’t want to preach, no matter how much I rant.

I don’t like people who act like me. What kind of complex is that?
Never mind.

I am often afraid.

I am not a coward.
Maybe that one is a little presumptuous.

I am trying to get better at what I do.

I can lose focus easily.

But sometimes I obsess about something with intensity.
I appear to have conditioned myself to feel bad after about an hour or two of this kind of focus, however.

So, let’s say I don’t wander.
What then?
But first of all how?
How do I keep the mind from traveling?
What can I do to drop my anchor?

Obstacles await. Monkeys await.

Oh, so many monkeys. So many lights that shine. So many beacons of hope brighten the Grendel hours, but what good are they if one does not walk to them. Even once you stand beneath a streetlight you cannot take its luminescence with you to the darkness between it and the next.

Beware the darkness where Grendel waits in the gray morning.
All that hatred is within him. And he will rend your limbs without light to guard you.
Legend is your warning.
Poetry your shield.
And prose your sword.

Time to don your armor, and throw down the beast. Then you may wander at will.
Without fear of the darkness.

Superhuman was Beowulf, to destroy the monster the way it killed men.

All too human, Grendel, the monster, to die from being disarmed.

Are you going to see me again, Grendel? I am no Beowulf.

And you, you are not less mortal than I. And I know this.

Because we are not separate beings, not archenemies that fight in the shadows until one of us emerges bloody and victorious and the other rests unmarked in an early grave. We are the same being.

Would killing you be murder or suicide?

Would it be justice? Would it be self-mutilation?

You see, Grendel, we both live in fear of Beowulf. The night.

Thor, the thunder.

Apollo and the sun.

And if we wage war on ourselves, weary while. Then who will pay the debt we incur?

Only the mind that. Only the heart.
Only the face we see the in the mirror the moment before it shatters from trying to contain our Gray visage.
Yet find in this insult, salvation.
For what contained in a mirror does not change over time?
For what the broken glass shows is something else, not ugliness, but hope.
The void is hope. The truth is hope that our state is not permanent, Grendel.

Perhaps, though we may never be free of each other, we may, in some hour not so distant from now, accept our connection.

And face the world as we are.

Not as I am.

Not as I am not.

Dichotomy, my friend, my monster, is on the inside.

And with it, beauty. As the cliches go, let them carry an understanding. That we are not some abomination.

No rough beast are we. Nor is anyone in humanity.

* * *

Thanks for Reading

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